Remarks by Ellen Tauscher
Special Envoy, 10th Annual Missile Defense Conference
March 26, 2012
Thank you, Pat for that introduction. I have worked with Pat for a long time now and I appreciate his support, advice and service to this nation. When I retired from full-time government service, I kept the missile defense portfolio, in part, because I wanted to keep working with Pat.
Two-and-a-half years ago—and that seems like a lifetime ago in terms of government years—the Obama Administration rolled out the European Phased Adaptive Approach. Several months later, we completed the Ballistic Missile Defense Review. In Lisbon, last year, NATO committed to adopt missile defense as an Alliance mission. I continue to work with my Russian counterparts to find a path forward on missile defense cooperation. And we’re working more closely than ever with Israel on Arrow, Arrow 3, David Sling and more.
The Obama Administration has not only talked about supporting missile defense, we’ve actually done it. And, we have focused on effective systems. We have worked to protect and enhance our important homeland defense capabilities and to expand our regional missile defense capabilities. We demonstrated that again in the FY13 budget request, where every program and every agency is subject to cuts, we protected our most critical BMD capabilities to protect the U.S. homeland, our deployed forces, and our allies and partners.
I am going to focus on two issues. To start, I want to talk about the European Phased Adaptive Approach. And then I want to make the case for Missile Defense cooperation with Russia.
I’m not going to dwell on the specifics of what the EPAA will and will not do. Pat has undoubtedly given you a much better briefing on that than I can. I want to talk about the progress we have made in implementing the European Phased Adaptive Approach.
When I spoke at last year’s conference, we were hard at work on the agreements that would allow the implementation of all four phases of the European Phased Adaptive Approach. Then, during one incredible week last September, we made three announcements.
First, Turkey agreed to host the Phase 1 AN/TPY-2 radar.
Second, we signed the Ballistic Missile Defense Agreement with Romania to host the Phase 2 land-based SM-3 site. Today, both of those agreements have been finalized. The U.S.-Poland agreement for the Phase 3 land-based site entered into force as well.
And, last October, Spain agreed to serve as a home port for four Aegis destroyers. That’s not bad for government work.
The Obama Administration has put into place the key agreements needed to implement all four phases of the EPAA. Most importantly, we met President Obama’s goal to implement the first phase of the EPAA by the end of 2011. Right now, the Aegis Cruiser, the USS Vella Gulf, is providing our at-sea Phase 1 missile defense presence along with the AN/TPY-2 radar in Turkey.
The next big demonstration of our progress will come at the NATO Summit in Chicago in May. We expect NATO to announce that it has achieved an “interim capability.” That basically means that Allies will start operating under the same “playbook.”
NATO has done tremendous work in preparing the way for this interim capability since the agreement in Lisbon to develop a NATO BMD capability whose aim is to provide full coverage and protection for all NATO European populations, territories, and forces. We are especially grateful to those allies that have agreed to contribute to the NATO BMD system. We especially appreciate Turkey, Romania, Poland, and Spain for their willingness to host elements of NATO’s missile defense capabilities on their territory.
Other countries are making significant contributions as well. The Netherlands has decided to modify the SMART-L radars on their air defense frigates to give the ships a BMD sensor capability that can contribute to NATO missile defense. Germany is exploring developing an airborne infrared sensor. France has proposed a concept for a shared early warning satellite.
After Chicago, we will continue to cooperate with our NATO Allies to achieve full operational capability for NATO territorial missile defense, including all four phases of the EPAA as the U.S. contribution.
At the same time, I have been working with my Russian counterpart to develop mutually beneficial areas of cooperation. This could be a game changer for European security and for U.S.-Russian relations. And any cooperative agreement will not limit our ability to deploy missile defense systems and it can and will be done in a way that doesn’t compromise our commitment to NATO missile defense and all four phases of the EPAA.
Missile defense is one area where we can work together with Russia to end Cold War thinking and move away from Mutually Assured Destruction toward Mutually Assured Stability.
That means getting Russia inside the missile defense tent now, working alongside the U.S. and NATO, while we are in Phase 1. This way Russia will be able to see with its own eyes what all the phases of the EPAA really mean. Russia also will be able to see that we are focused on the threat from countries like Iran. NATO missile defense systems will not threaten Russia’s strategic nuclear capabilities. I’ll say it again: These systems will not threaten Russia’s strategic forces.
This cooperation is essential because Russia has not been convinced by our technical arguments that the NATO system isn’t a threat even despite Pat’s best efforts and I am grateful to him and MDA for their detailed technical responses to Russia’s inaccurate assumptions about our missile defense capabilities.
Cooperation will also allow Russia to see that the U.S. Phased Adaptive Approach to missile defense is designed to be flexible. Should the ballistic missile threat from nations like Iran be reduced, our missile defense system can adapt accordingly.
Russia has raised the issue of a legal guarantee with a set of “military-technical criteria” that could, in effect, create limitations on our ability to develop and deploy future missile defense systems. They want a piece of paper they can point to when a U.S. ship enters certain waters or when an interceptor has a certain speed.
We certainly cannot accept limitations on where we deploy our Aegis ships. These are multi-mission ships that are used for a variety of missions around the world, not just for missile defense. We also will NOT accept limitations on the capabilities and numbers of our missile defense systems.
We would be willing to agree to a political statement that our missile defenses are not directed at Russia. In fact, this is what we have been saying all along. Let me say it again: any statement will be politically binding and it would publicly proclaim our intent to cooperate and chart the direction for cooperation, not limitations.
In order to reach the point where we can engage in genuine missile defense cooperation with Russia in ways that truly benefit U.S. national security, we may need to be more transparent and continue to build trust between our two nations. We would not give away “hit to kill technology,” telemetry, or any other types of information that would compromise our national security.
We must look for opportunities for transparency measures with the Russian Federation. To that end, we have offered for the Russian Federation to view one of our Aegis SM-3 missile defense flight tests. We are not proposing to provide them with classified information.
Rather, we are offering for them to operate in international waters, giving them the time of launch of our target (which we provide to mariners and airmen as normal course). This will be a good first step in transparency measures with the Russian Federation, allowing them to see for themselves, what we are saying about our system is accurate.
I would argue that we cannot let this opportunity pass. It is too important for the future of U.S. and European security.
Now that Russia has wrapped up its elections, I am hoping my Russian colleagues see this is an opportunity that they should take sooner rather than later. Confidence takes time to build. If Russia is truly concerned about Phases 3 and 4, it would be best for Russia to start cooperating as early as possible to better understand our capabilities as they evolve. We prefer future decision-making on this issue to be made according to on-the-ground realities, not worst-case guesses. We prefer letting data and facts inform our decision making, rather than lingering Cold War paranoia.
So we will keep working to see if we can come up with a plan for cooperation. That is one of the reasons I have stayed on as Special Envoy. I want to see this cooperation reach fruition.
On March 13th, I took the full interagency Arms Control and International Security Working Group of the Presidential Bilateral Commission to Moscow for a meeting with the Russians. I then followed up with a one-on-one meeting with my counterpart Deputy Foreign Minister Ryabkov last weekend. We also continue to press in the Defense and Joint Staff channels, and we will keep moving forward in the run up to May and we will keep going long after May.
Our objective is not just winning some public relations points. It’s about creating lasting cooperation and changing outdated thinking to the benefit of U.S. security.
Transforming missile defense from an issue of contention to one of cooperation will also help move us forward on the road toward greater nuclear reductions and, eventually, elimination.
Let me close by reiterating that our cooperation with Russia will not come at the expense of our plans to defend Europe from regional ballistic missile threats or for the defense of the U.S. homeland.
President Obama, Secretary Clinton, and others have all reaffirmed our commitment to the implementation of the EPAA. We look forward to continuing our work implementing the EPAA with our NATO partners as well as consulting closely with Congress and others as we move forward.
Thank you and with that, I would be happy to take a few [easy] questions.